Microgravity is a fascinating environment with many and varied applications over the realms of engineering and science. Unfortunately it is not easy to create microgravity on the surface of a planet like Earth. All attempts nowadays are expensive and time consuming. This project tries to show that low gravity can be reached at much lower costs than current approaches (such as parabolic flights or drop towers). However, this project is a feasibility study of the technique that can be used to create a low gravity environment. If this project can demonstrate that the selected approach is working, it can easily be up scaled for larger payloads or longer periods of low gravity.
The approach used in this project is to drop a payload off a high altitude balloon. During the drop the payload is still connected to the balloon’s gondola through a tether which is unreeled from an ordinary fishing spinning reel. The drop is decelerated using the internal brake of the fishing reel. As soon as the payload comes to a halt, it is reeled back up to the gondola and is ready for the next drop.
The project’s name is reel.SMRT ("real smart"). It is being realized within the BEXUS (Balloon Experiment for University Students) campaign organised and sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR). The student group designing and building this experiment consists of nine students originating from eight different countries. All of them are currently enrolled in the Erasmus Mundus sponsored SpaceMaster programme.
Latest activity for this project
Latest Project: SMRT @SMURFS
We want to specially thank our sponsors
gcs Global Communication & Services GmbH and Sylvia Meinhart
for their financial support!
SpaceMaster Robotics Team
A student team consisting of members formerly studying in the Joint European Master in Space Science & Technology (SpaceMaster) programme. It is currently spread all over Europe.
The team consists for this project of the following 9 team members: Katherine Bennell, Mark 'Fitts' Fittock, Mikulas Jandak, Juxi Leitner, David Leal Martínez, Waen Nawarat, Campbell Pegg, Mikael Persson, and Jan Speidel
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